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May 17, 2014 09:16 AM

How bad is leaving change as part of the tip?

I was at a super busy restaurant for lunch. The tab came to under $18 and I only had two 20's. The waitress was slammed and I didn't see her for a while and had to get back to work. I left a $20 and $2 in change. I don't do that normally. Is it better to wait and create more work for her or is change fine? FWIW, it was quarters not pennies.

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  1. Of course it's fine. It's money. Years ago, a waitress friend of mine said she was always flattered when she got tipped in change, even pennies, because it seemed like the customer was emptying his wallet for her.

    5 Replies
    1. re: small h

      That's good to know. I was wondering about their having to carry loose change.

      1. re: chowser

        Many restaurants today require the servers to carry a *bank* and settle the checks with their customers. Many servers don't come prepared and need the help of other servers to get needed cash to make their banks, or replenish them when needed. The money is carried usually carried in a bank deposit bag, so carrying change should not be a problem.

        1. re: fourunder

          That's the rule in Europe, but I've never seen it in the US - and that includes foodie-centric San Francisco. They also carry hand-held credit card readers, so your card never leaves your sight.

          Back to the OP: money's money.

          1. re: tardigrade

            I've not generally seen that in the part of Europe where I live, nor in the parts I visit regularly. Happens occasionally that a server carries change but it is a rarity.

          2. re: fourunder

            That's what I was thinking this whole thread - when my husabnd was back in school and waiting tables, he always had to scrounge up a "bank", which sometimes meant raiding the penny jar, my purse, etc. so he could provide change to the customers. (Here in the U.S., for the record.) It was only a problem if the first table paid with a $50 or $100 and wiped them out right off the bat.

      2. I'll frequently use small change as part of tip to cover the < $1 portion of the check so the server receives a rounded dollar amount.

        In your specific example, you mad an effort to increase and leave an appropriate tip. It was better than not leaving the extra $2..

        3 Replies
        1. re: fourunder

          I do that, too--leave enough to cover the change portion. Not leaving enough tip wouldn't have been an option. I was thinking of the trade off between time and leaving bills vs quickly leaving and giving coins.

          1. re: chowser

            I would have no problem leaving a roll of quarters as a $10 tip.....whether I was in a hurry, or not....even if I had a $10 spot on me.

            1. re: fourunder

              That reminds me of someone I heard on the radio who left a small winning lottery ticket, about $25 which was far more than the tip. He said he didn't have enough cash and didn't want to charge the whole amount.

          1. I remember my father leaving a single penny placed on top of the cash tip (in those days, always cash) to let the waitress (in those days, always waitresses) know he considered her service better than average. For terrible service, he said you would leave only the penny. If you left nothing, the waitress might think you just "forgot".

            1 Reply
            1. re: grampart

              I've not thought of that approach to tipping in YEARS. Good grief...I had family members that did it.

              There were also rules about whom you tipped and whom you didn't (outside restaurant work). Your mechanic might get your car back up & running in a hurry but, to tip him in the Old Days, was believed to be an Insult. "You'd as lief tip a lawyer" went the line.

              Well, that was long ago...

            2. Why would it be 'bad'? She can change it out when she's slowed down.
              You were in a hurry.
              She was busy.
              Change is more than fine.
              It's money.